March for Meals wraps up

COUNTY — During the month of March, Pickens County Meals on Wheels (PCMOW) held its annual March for Meals Campaign. Initiated by the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA), March for Meals is designed to create understanding about senior hunger issues by connecting local businesses, residents and public officials with senior nutrition services like Pickens County Meals on Wheels.

web image002This year’s March for Meals emphasized how programs like Meals on Wheels are essential to helping seniors live independently in their own homes. Each weekday, PCMOW volunteers on 22 different routes help keep more than 240 homebound elderly and disabled seniors healthy, fed, safe and independent.

Throughout March, PCMOW hosted a variety of awareness, fundraising and volunteer activities. The “Take-us-for-a-Test-Drive” campaign, where people rode with volunteers during their regular delivery, produced seven new volunteers and one new driving group.

Fundraising activities included a wine tasting and wine auction held by the Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards on March 28. The event was coordinated by Sue Grill, and members generously donated more than $2,600, which will pay for more than 520 meals for Pickens County seniors.

“Funding and volunteers are critical ingredients to the program’s success. We cannot operate without either,” PCMOW executive director Meta Bowers said.

Bowers also gave a special thanks to PCMOW supporter Timothy Moriarty, restaurant manager of Longhorn Steakhouse in Easley. He helped PCMOW secure a $1,000 grant from the Darden Restaurants Foundation, Inc., in support of hunger relief and PCMOW.

Another crucial part of the March for Meals outreach was Community Champions Week, held during March 17-21. Special emphasis was placed on involving local elected officials as well as church, business and community leaders to encourage participation in all parts of the program. Each day brought out a number of people who wanted to show their support for Meals on Wheels.

Easley city councilman Kent Dykes, David Whittemore of the R. Carl Byars Insurance Agency, Randy Bowers of Bowers Emergency and Bowers Signature Services, David Wingard of Wingard Jewelers and Bleu Voodoo Grill, Six Mile mayor Roy Stoddard, Donna Hendricks of Cassell and Hendricks, Walker Smith of Rep. Jeff Duncan’s office, Easley mayor Larry Bagwell and his wife, Lu, Liberty mayor Eric Boughman, Cindy Hopkins of the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce, volunteer Kerri Blanton, Andy Sevic of Easley Combined Utilities and Rep. Davey Hiott all volunteered their time during the week.

Throughout the month, more than 53 Community Champions, including members of Pickens County Council; Senator Larry Martin; Rick Clark, Pickens County Sheriff; Julie Capaldi, United Way of Pickens County; and Michael Fee, Reliable Automatic Sprinkler, pledged their support for the 2014 March for Meals campaign and the work it does to end senior hunger and serve older adults in Pickens County.

“We were very excited to have so many elected officials, business owners and volunteers available to participate this year,” Bowers said. “It was a great learning experience for us all. The food and human contact we provide to seniors in Pickens County is needed more than ever. Our clients count on us each weekday.”